The Brewing Process
Beer has played an important part in our lives for thousands of years. Across the globe, different cultures have experimented with the brewing process in hopes of creating the ultimate beverage. About 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, individuals used ceramic vessels to brew beer. Their process used twice-baked barley, which they would add to water and heat. This produced a thick beer, full of nutrients that were essential for survival. Though the product is very different from what we enjoy today, the same fundamental steps still occur in the beer brewing process.
After you gather the proper ingredients and produce hot water in the HTL, the brewing process can begin. The mix will first enter the mash tun. In this vessel, the heat from the water causes the starches to become sugar. The mash’s temperature is very important—depending on what type of beer you plan to produce, the brewer will raise or lower the temperature. For pale lagers, pilsners, and dark lagers, the brewer will lower the temperature. If you are making ales, porters, stouts, or wheat beers, the brewer will raise the temperature.
The next step in the brewing process is Lautering. During this step, the mash goes through the lauter tun. In this vessel, sugary liquid separates from the grains.
Next, the liquid goes to the kettle where it begins to boil. This step is important to sanitize and add flavor to the liquid. During the beer brewing process, you will introduce flavorings to the liquid while it boils. The longer the beer maker lets it boil, the more bitter the beer will taste.
After the beer cools, it goes to a fermentation tank. Here, the beer will lose the sugar and produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. The beer you brew greatly depends on at what temperature you ferment at. This step can take up to a couple of months, depending on what type of beer you make.
The brewing process is not over yet. After fermentation, beer goes to a Brite/serving tank where it continues to age and mature. During this step, the tank filters the beer to increase clarity. If the brewer thinks it needs additional carbonation, they can use a carb stone. This stone release carbon dioxide into the brew.
Once you complete all these steps, and the beer production process is over, you can begin to keg and bottle the beer or cider directly from the serving vessel.